6th Think Tanks Forum of the Islamic Countries

Videos

Congratulatory message to the people of China from Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed

Dated:20-10-2017

Chairman PCI talks about China's 19th Communist Party Congress and the importance of Belt and Road Initiative

Dated:20-10-2017

Books by Mushahid

CPEC and the Indo-American Axis

Date : 10-11-2017

CPEC and the Indo-American Axis

In no way is China 'dictating' OBOR to any country, which, in any case includes 65 countries spread all over Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, all voluntarily part of OBOR, which is probably the single most important diplomatic and developmental initiative in the 21st Century. Only India in the region is out of it, since it sees itself as a 'rival' of China.

Actually, by opposing OBOR and echoing India on CPEC, the United States is sowing the seeds of another Cold War, a 'New Great Game' in the region, pitching its proxy, India, to 'counter and contain' China, destabilising the region further with a debilitating proxy war between India and Pakistan since India is already well embarked on the process of cross-border terrorism against Pakistan.

Following up on the unveiling of President Trump's flawed South Asian strategy on August 21, 2017, U.S. Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, DC, on October 3, 2017 that the U.S. has reservations on the 'One Belt, One Road' (OBOR) initiative of China.

Jim Mattis, in what is the first such public statement from an American high official on OBOR said that "In a globalised world, there are many belts and many roads, and no one nation should put itself in a position of dictating 'One Belt, One Road'." He added another ground for the U.S. opposition, when in an oblique reference to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the flagship and pilot project of OBOR, that 'OBOR also goes through disputed territory'.

The statement of Secretary Mattis is surprising and inexplicable as it is contrary to previous American policy and both his reservations are quite baseless. Three aspects are noteworthy.

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When China hosted the OBOR Summit in Beijing in May 2017, with 110 countries and international organisations in attendance, the United States sent an official delegation led by Matt Pottinger, Special Assistant to President Trump, and Senior Director in charge of East Asia in the National Security Council. His participation like that of other countries was an endorsement of OBOR and no reservations were expressed on this count.

Second, after the World Bank-brokered Indus Waters Treaty resulted in the decision to build new dams, the American government enlisted U.S. contractors to build the Mangla Dam in Azad Kashmir, and the U.S. then never expressed reservations that it is 'disputed territory'.

Third, in no way is China 'dictating' OBOR to any country, which, in any case includes 65 countries spread all over Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe – all voluntarily part of OBOR – which is probably the single most important diplomatic and developmental initiative in the 21st Century. Only India in the region is out of it, since it sees itself as a 'rival' of China.

Actually, by opposing OBOR and echoing India on CPEC, the United States is sowing the seeds of another Cold War, a 'New Great Game' in the region, pitching its proxy, India, to 'counter and contain' China, destabilising the region further with a debilitating proxy war between India and Pakistan since India is already well embarked on the process of cross-border terrorism against Pakistan.

Mattis’ statement of October 3, comes on the heels of President Trump's August 21 South Asia strategy, where Trump handed over the Afghan policy's execution to the Pentagon, which, in turn, is keen to rope in the Indians as their 'junior partners' in this 'New Great Game'.

The U.S. has already announced a troop surge in Afghanistan, and the intention to stay put in Afghanistan for the long haul.

The U.S. military presence of some 16,000 will be supplemented by another 10,000 from its NATO allies, plus a matching presence of armed military contractors hired by the Pentagon, which means 50,000 plus men under arms. This presence will be beefed up by the under-construction American Embassy in Kabul, one of the biggest in the world.

CPEC is all about inclusion, progress, connectivity that seeks development on the fast track, especially for those areas that are left behind, and it is an opportunity for the world's sixth most populous country to alleviate poverty and allow its talented people to seize the opening to build better and more prosperous lives.

What would the American presence be in Afghanistan for? Obviously, the force won't be big or strong enough to militarily defeat the Taliban, who already control 45% of Afghanistan, so what else could keep them busy? An educated guess can read the military minds of the Trump Administration.

With 400 American military bases already circling China in Asia, the U.S. military presence is vital to keep an eye on China next door, since its sensitive Xinjiang province has a 90-kilometre border with Afghanistan on the Wakhan Corridor.

Additionally, with Trump bent upon scuttling the Iran nuclear deal, keeping an eye on Tehran would be an added incentive. And then with Putin being constantly demonised, Russia's 'near abroad' (the Central Asian Republics that border Afghanistan like Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), would be another convenient target.

So the contrasting visions, paths and policies for the future are clear: Pakistan pursuing win-win cooperation and connectivity while India opts for conflict and confrontation. The U.S. and India are going against the tide of history because neither the U.S., having squandered $ 3 trillion in the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, is in a position to sustain another Cold War, while, India, having failed to quell the popular, spontaneous, indigenous and widespread uprising in Occupied Kashmir, is mired in 16 other indigenous insurgencies.

Loud whispers from Washington also speak in hushed tones about what is being left unstated, namely, the Pakistan nuclear program. The American journalist, David Sanger, in his book 'Confront and Conceal', writes: "There was another reason to establish an 'enduring presence' in Afghanistan after 2014 a reason the White House did not want to discuss. It was Pakistan. The United States could live with an Afghanistan that was messy, even with some parts of the country under de facto Taliban control once the international forces pulled back. But stability in Pakistan and the security of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal was another story. The American forces in Afghanistan had a role as a 'break the glass' emergency force if Pakistan and its (nuclear) arsenal, appeared to be coming apart at the seams".

In his analysis of the Trump strategy, informed American journalist David Ignatius wrote something similar in The Washington Post, August 23, 2017, about the prolonged U.S. military presence in Afghanistan: "It sustains a base that will allow the United States to keep watch on nearby Pakistani nuclear weapons".

With the balance of economic and political power shifting from the West to the East in the 21st Century, which is being talked about as the 'Asian Century', two clear trends are discernible, in fact, two distinctively different pathways to the future.

The one-fifth of humanity that resides in South Asia deserves a better tomorrow, with no overlords and no underdogs, not a return to a tried, tested, flawed and failed approach. Such a Washington-concocted and Delhi-executed recipe will not only be disastrous for themselves, but for Asia as a whole.

There is OBOR, which is promoting globalisation through corridors and connectivity with its centrepiece CPEC, seen as the hub of a new regionalism driven by economy and energy, ports and pipelines, roads and railways, pushing for progress and prosperity with win-win cooperation.

CPEC is all about inclusion, progress, connectivity that seeks development on the fast track, especially for those areas that are left behind, and it is an opportunity for the world's sixth most populous country to alleviate poverty and allow its talented people to seize the opportunity to build better and more prosperous lives.

Conversely, there is an attempt by the American military-industrial-complex to spark a new Cold War by conjuring up the 'China threat', seeking to contain China, whose centrepiece is the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), a military pact, signed by the United States and India in August 2016, which, for the first time, allows American access to military bases in India, something which India had long derided Pakistan for. So, now the United States and India are formally military allies.

So the contrasting visions, paths and policies for the future are clear: Pakistan pursuing win-win cooperation and connectivity while India opts for conflict and confrontation. The U.S. and India are going against the tide of history because neither the U.S., having squandered $ 3 trillion in the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, is in a position to sustain another Cold War, nor India, having failed to quell the popular, spontaneous, indigenous and widespread uprising in Occupied Kashmir, is mired in 16 other indigenous insurgencies.

Additionally, the Modi regime has proven to be divisive by actively promoting politics of hate, bigotry and extremism against liberal Hindus (some independent voices like Arundhati Roy are either being stifled or driven out of India), Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.

The one-fifth of humanity that resides in South Asia deserves a better tomorrow, with no overlords and no underdogs, not a return to a tried, tested, flawed and failed approach. Such a Washington-concocted and Delhi-executed recipe will not only be disastrous for themselves, but for Asia as a whole.


The writer is Chairman of Pakistan's Senate Defence Committee and Pakistan-China Institute (PCI). He is an eminent scholar and practitioner of international repute on issues of security, international relations and politics. He has been the Editor of a prestigious national English daily, and author of three books. As Leader of Pakistan's Delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission at Geneva in 1993, he was proactive in promoting Pakistan's position on Kashmir and Siachen.

www.mushahidhussain.com

E-mail: mushahid.hussain@gmail.com